College Football Playoff: Reactions to Alabama Getting in Over Florida State

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College Football Playoff: Reactions to Alabama Getting in Over Florida State

The College Football Playoff selection committee’s final top four is set and, for the first time, an undefeated conference champion from a Power Five league has been left out.

Florida State University (FSU) came in at No. 5 in the committee’s final rankings, which were released just after 12 p.m. ET on Sunday. Michigan, Washington, Texas, and Alabama all earned spots in the top four and will compete for the national championship. The Wolverines and Huskies were virtual locks heading into the unveiling. So the biggest looming question before the selection show was how the committee would decide between Texas, Alabama, and FSU for the final two slots.

And that decision ended in Florida State heartbreak.

The Seminoles (13-0) defeated Louisville, 16-6, for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) title on Saturday night. Florida State gathered to watch the unveiling of the rankings and were ultimately met with sudden disappointment. FSU players, as shown on the ESPN broadcast, groaned and wore shocked expressions after realizing they wouldn’t have the chance to play for a national title.

Michigan and Alabama will play in the Rose Bowl in one of the College Football Playoff semifinals, while Washington and Texas will face off in the Sugar Bowl. Both games will be played on New Year’s Day and aired on ESPN. The Seminoles will have to settle for a different New Year’s Six bowl.

Here’s a compilation of reactions to Alabama making the playoff over Florida State.

FSU CFP
Head coach Mike Norvell of the Florida State Seminoles is seen on December 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina. FSU was left out of the College Football Playoff.
Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images/Getty Images

FSU Quarterback Jordan Travis ‘Devastated’

The main argument for leaving Florida State out has been the absence of star quarterback Jordan Travis, who has missed the last two games with a season-ending leg injury. FSU was down to its third-string quarterback against Louisville and accumulated only 55 passing yards in the win.

Travis shared his reaction on X, formerly Twitter, to not making the top four.

“Devastated,” he wrote. “Heartbroken. In so much disbelief [right now]. I wish my leg broke earlier in the season so y’all could see this team is much more than the quarterback. I thought results matter. 13-0 and this roster matches up across any team in those top four rankings. I am so sorry. Go Noles!”

devastated. heartbroken. In so much disbelief rn, I wish my leg broke earlier in the season so y’all could see this team is much more than the quarterback. I thought results matter. 13-0 and this roster matches up across any team in those top 4 rankings. I am so sorry. Go Noles!

— Jordan Travis (@jordantrav13) December 3, 2023

CFP Chair Explains Alabama Over FSU

The College Football Playoff selection committee is chaired by Boo Corrigan, who was faced with answering why Alabama got in over Florida State moments after the rankings were released. ESPN’s Rece Davis asked Corrigan for the committee’s thinking on the decision.

“Florida State is a different team than they were through the first 11 weeks,” Corrigan said. Coach [Mike] Norvell, their players, their fans [had] an incredible season. But as you look at who they are as a team right now without Jordan Travis, without the offensive dynamic that he brings to it, they are a different team. And the committee voted Alabama four and Florida State five.”

The availability of key players, such as Travis, is a criteria that the committee considers when ranking teams.

Florida State AD Slams CFP Committee

Shortly after the Seminoles found out they wouldn’t be participating in the College Football Playoff, Florida State athletic director Michael Alford released a statement ripping the decision.

“The consequences of giving in to a narrative of the moment are destructive, far reaching, and permanent,” part of the statement read. “Not just for Florida State, but college football as a whole. The argument of whether a team is the ‘most deserving OR best’ is a false equivalence. It renders the season up to yesterday irrelevant and significantly damages the legitimacy of the College Football Playoff. The 2023 Florida State Seminoles are the epitome of a total TEAM. To eliminate them from a chance to compete for a national championship is an unwarranted injustice that shows complete disregard and disrespect for their performance and accomplishments.

“It is unforgivable…Our players, coaches, and fans – as well as all those who love this sport – deserve better. The committee failed college football today.”

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips called the decision “unfathomable” in a separate statement.

ESPN Analysts Heated Over Top Four

There was a mixed reaction on ESPN’s set after Alabama was announced as the No. 4 team over Florida State. Greg McElroy, a former Alabama QB, said he wanted to tip his cap to the committee for putting in what he believed to be the correct top four teams. But Booger McFarland was heated.

“I’m going to completely disagree with you,” McFarland said to his colleague. “This is a travesty to the sport. Because we go out on the field and we play the game. And regardless of whether it looks good at the quarterback position, regardless of whether we win with offense, whether we win with defense — the name of the game is to win…One team has a loss, and that’s Alabama. One team doesn’t in Florida State.”

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit later added that he thought the committee did a great job.

Alabama’s strength of schedule advantage over Florida State (ranking fifth vs. 55th) was pointed out throughout the broadcast. So was the Crimson Tide’s 4-1 record against College Football Playoff top-25 teams compared to FSU’s 3-0 mark. Alabama had key wins over Ole Miss, LSU, and then Georgia on Saturday in the SEC Championship Game. FSU’s notable victories include beating LSU, Clemson, and Louisville for the ACC title.

Booger McFarland is not happy that Alabama got into the CFP over an undefeated Florida State team.

“To me, this is a travesty to the sport…One team has a loss, and that’s Alabama. One doesn’t in Florida State.” pic.twitter.com/3rhBvvpT1D

— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) December 3, 2023

FSU Coach Mike Norvell Releases Scathing Statement

Add Florida State’s head coach to the list of people to release a harsh statement after Sunday’s decision. Norvell said he is “hurting” for his players in a lengthy rebuttal to the committee.

“I am disgusted and infuriated with the committee’s decision today to have what was earned on the field taken away because a small group of people decided they knew better than the results of the games,” a portion of his statement reads on X. “What is the point of playing games? Do you tell players it is OK to quit if someone goes down? Do you not play a senior on Senior Day for fear of injury? Where is the motivation to schedule challenging non-conference games? We are not only an undefeated [Power Five] conference champion, but we also played two [Power Five] non-conference games away from home and won both of them. I don’t understand how we are supposed to think this is an acceptable way to evaluate a team.”

Update 12/3/23, 3:42 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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